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OU Renovations to Include TB Ward Demolition

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The administration outlined four capital projects that the facilities department will be presenting to the Ohio University Board of Trustees for approval this month in a conference call with facilities management.

This first is major rehabilitation to Galbreath Chapel on College Green. The building has suffered weathering over the years and was quickly closed earlier this year after reports of falling plaster. The planned renovations include the removal of asbestos tiles in the lower floor of the building, repainting and general upkeep, as well as the addition of an elevator amongst other accessibility upgrades.

The project is expected to cost $1.25 million, coming mostly from the selling of University bonds, to minimize drawing from reserves.

“The university didn’t feel like it was a safe situation to keep that building open. That was problematic for some events that were already scheduled there; there were some weddings there that had to be relocated and it was also a performance venue for the organ program for the school of music,” commented Harry Wyatt, associate vice president for facilities.

Wyatt noted that certain precautions were being taken to protect the antique organ in the chapel.

The second project discussed was the rehabilitation Bush Hall on East Green. The hall was built in 1955 and the $11.5 million renovations will be fully funded by residential housing reserves. The end goal of the building is to offer 104 beds as well as multipurpose “living and learning areas.”

Other modern system for electricity and central air-conditioning are planned for Bush Hall as well. An elevator will also be added to the building, necessitating the building of an accommodating cupola on the roof.

Third is the completion of renovations to Bromley Hall rooms and restrooms that have been ongoing over the past several years. The university acquired Bromley in 2001, though the high-rise building was built in 1966. The continued renovations are projected to cost Residential Housing $6 million and will include the completed renovation of 48 student rooms on top of 176 already completed, as well as 24 bathrooms on top of the 104 bathrooms already renovated. This work will also include basic mechanical work as well as asbestos cleanup.

The final proposal is the third phase of a plan to renovate and expand the Central Food Facility for Ohio University.

This third phase being proposed this month will feature expansions to the Bakery portion of the facility which will renovate 6,000 square feet of the building and will cost approximately $2.5 million from culinary service reserves.

The major goal of this operation is to expand the facility’s capabilities to produce food in-house, rather than being purchased and imported. The facility was built in 1972 and the first phase of renovation began in Dec. 2010.

“They’re primarily doing this for a better quality of product and better consistency of product, as well as less waste in the production process,” added Wyatt.

Wyatt added that the second phase of renovations to Nelson Commons is also going along well and that there have been few obstacles.

In an update on the demolition of the Tuberculosis Ward building in The Ridges Complex, Wyatt commented that he met with Athens Historical Society last month and, despite learning more about the history and gathering more perspectives on the issue, the demolition is scheduled to proceed sometime at the end of this month or in December. Wyatt stated that there was no specific schedule that he knew of.

“The building has become a detractive nuisance and the university does not want to continue any situation in which a student or any other individual could end up harming themselves by entering that building,” explained Wyatt. “Although there’s certainly a good basis there, it was not enough to counterbalance the other concerns about safety.”

The Tuberculosis Ward has a history of trespassing and vandalism due to local tradition and its location away from most of the other Ridges buildings.

 

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